ALIVE! Missing 13 Year Old Jayme Closs Found in Wisconsin
Jayme Closs, the 13-year-old Barron County girl who went missing last year following the murder of her parents, has been found alive, the Barron County Sheriff’s Department said Thursday night.
Sheriff Fitzgerald says she will be reunited with relatives later tonight.
Jayme was found by sheriff’s deputies in Douglas County in the far northwestern corner of Wisconsin, two counties away from Barron. The sheriff did not offer any more details.
A suspect has been taken into custody in regards to the case, according to the Barron County Sheriff. No information on Closs’ condition has been released at this time.
The sheriff’s statement said that its department “could not have endured this case without the support of the public and I want to thank them for all the support and help.”
Jayme’s aunt, Jennifer Smith, said Jayme was taken to a hospital to be checked out but authorities didn’t think she was injured.
Jayme’s grandfather, Robert Naiberg, told KSTP, “Everybody is so happy … We can’t believe it.”
Just hours earlier, Sheriff Fitzgerald quashed internet rumors that a heavy police presence in Walworth County, in southeastern Wisconsin, was related to the Closs investigation. He called that “false news.”
Jayme was missing since October 15 when her parents were murdered in their home.
.Authorities and volunteers had been searching for the her since Oct. 15, after her parents were found shot to death at their home in Barron. Deputies responding to a 911 call found James and Denise Closs dead and Jayme gone.
Here’s a closer look at the case.
Tom and Joan Smrekar woke up early Monday to the sound of two gunshots, seconds apart. Joan Smrekar looked at the clock by her bed. It was 12:31 a.m. “Those two shots were so loud,” Tom Smrekar said Tuesday.
Joan Smrekar said she initially didn’t think anything of it. “We hear people hunting,” she said. “I told Tom, ‘Maybe there was a bear in a yard, and they were trying to scare away an animal.’”
The Smrekars live about 300 feet from James, 56, and Denise Closs, 46, who were found dead in their rural Barron home by law enforcement.
Investigators immediately denied Closs was a runaway and believed she was in danger.
By the followingThursday, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald requested the help of volunteers. She was not a suspect in her parents’ deaths. He said that investigators believes she was alive but in danger and he urged the public to continue calling in tips.
The FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were involved in the search. An Amber Alert was issued without a description of a suspect or vehicle. Meanwhile, deputies searched the area around the family’s home with drones and infrared equipment and talked to Jayme’s friends and middle school classmates, hoping to develop some leads.
Following is the statement about Closs from Sheriff Fitzgerald Thursday night:
On Thursday evening the Barron County Sheriff’s Department was notified by the Douglas CO WI Sheriff’s Department that they had located Jayme Closs alive.
Shortly after this a suspect was taken into custody in regards to this case. We do not any other details at this time as this is a very fluid and active investigation. The sheriff’s deprtment will not be answering any questions or taking calls on this tonight.
We are planning a press briefing approximately 10 am tomorrow at the Sheriff’s Department in Barron. We are receiving support from the FBI and WI DCI agents as this investigation continues.
I want to thank the Douglas Co Sheriff’s Department and agencies assisting them tonight. And we also want to thank all the Law Enforcement agencies across the state and county that have assisted us in this case. We also could not have endured this case without the support of the public and I want to thank them for all the support and help.
Finally we want to especially thank the family for their support and patience while this case was ongoing. We promised to bring Jayme home and tonight we get to fulfill that promise. From the bottom of my heart THANK YOU!
This case has been very trying on the family so please respect their privacy and we reunite them later tonight.